by NATHANIEL STRINGER
Disney officially stepped foot into the video streaming service arena on Nov. 12, amidst a crowd of strong competitors, including Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. Despite its novelty, the launch of Disney+ was a huge success. According to IGN, the launch of the long-anticipated streaming service surpassed 10 million subscribers within the first day of release. To put that into perspective, the Netflix app was downloaded an estimated 662,000 times on its first day in the market.
Disney has been promising fans a great premier with “The Mandalorian,” a new series set in the Star Wars universe, featuring “Game of Thrones” actor Pedro Pascal, and Horatio Sanz from “Saturday Night Live.”
With the help of some modern Disney directors including Taika Waititi, who directed “Thor: Ragnarok,” the first episode of the series kicks off a bit differently than traditional Star Wars movies. Ever so slyly, like that of a Bounty Hunter, the familiar orchestra and scrolling of bold yellow text against a starry galaxy has disappeared. The series hits the ground running, featuring a bar fight, a bounty capture and a giant monster biting at a spaceship within the first five minutes. The first two episodes certainly include elements of familiarity however; storm troopers, laser cannons and the odd mix of earthling critters taking form as a humanoid alien – all of which are classics to the Star Wars Universe.
Looking back at Disney’s attempts to create stories beyond the original tale, suspicion of a bland stunt by Disney was high among those awaiting the release. The Star Wars Stories: “Rogue One” and “Solo” captured mixed reactions from fans – some were pleased, most were disappointed. In contrast, people seem to be rather happy with “The Mandalorian”; buzz on the internet is mostly positive, and Rotten Tomatoes gave the series an impressive 94 percent.
Communication and digital studies major Rynan Garner said, “I was reluctant to watch ‘The Mandalorian,’ because I was unimpressed with the Star Wars Stories movies “Rogue One” and “Solo.” However, I was impressed with Disney’s new Star Wars series.” Rynan continued, “It captures all of the classic factors of a Star Wars movie, and perfectly incorporates the cinematography of a Western. I’m looking forward to watching the remainder of the series.”
The hit Disney show seems to have done everything right. In fact, the pop culture website The Ringer states that “‘The Mandalorian’ could be the best TV Western since ‘Justified.’” It is simple enough for casual viewers to pick up, while including all of the classic Star Wars features to hold over diehard fans until the release of the (for now) final Leia-Vader based movie, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”
Disney+ plans to run eight episodes for the first season of “The Mandalorian,” however the episodes will not all be released at once, which is an interesting tactic that will prevent binge-watching of the series.